Who is this course for?
Although you will have studied this subject at GCSE at school, it comes as a surprise to many to find just how different the A Level is from GCSE. The course is all about analysing and understanding the written and spoken language of others and ourselves. It focuses on the power of words and the versatility of the speakers and writers who use them for different effects. You will develop your knowledge and increase your understanding of a language used the world over, as well as increasing your own skills as a writer.
Formal Entry Requirements
All students studying for A Level would be expected to have five GCSEs A*-C in academic subjects (of which two must be B grades) including GCSE English Language. We will count Level 2 Btec Diplomas towards this total, but only merits and distinctions will be counted and each diploma will count as one GCSE. Additionally, you will need GCSE English Language at B or above and, preferably, GCSE English Literature at C or above.
What does the course involve?
At AS Level, you will develop your understanding of the key constituents of language and their contribution to meaning in spoken and written English. You will study how language is used through a range of texts from different periods. For coursework you will be expected to produce your own creative, original writing in a fictional, literary mode and write a commentary analysing how you have produced it. You will also study spoken language for coursework and produce an analytical discussion.
At A2, you will continue to build on the skills acquired at AS with further study of phonetics and phonology, lexis, morphology, grammar and discourse. Topics for study include language acquisition, language and power, spoken media and the study of language change over time. There is another opportunity for production of your own writing for coursework; the focus is on extended functional writing and analysis.
How will I be assessed?
All AS and A Level English subjects are assessed through examination and coursework. Assessment for English Language is 60% by examination and 40% by coursework. There is one examination and one coursework essay for AS Level (two units) and one examination and one coursework essay for A Level (two units). Any of the units can be re-taken if you don’t do as well as you had hoped. The examinations focus on close textual analysis and knowledge. Coursework essays are expected to be about 3000 words in length.
Where can I go next?
Many English Language A Level students go on to study the subject at university; some choose to follow degrees in Journalism, Creative Writing and Media related courses. A Level English is a very versatile subject to study and if you are considering going into employment after College, this qualification will demonstrate your ability to communicate at a high level of competency. The study of English is useful for a wide range of careers including the legal profession, teaching, the media, the forces and marketing.